AMON TOBIN "ESTHER'S"
Music video 5:45
CHARLES DE MEYER
Charles De Meyer, director at Chuck Eklectric, Brussels: "The project started when I first met Amon Tobin on his gig in Brussels in 2007. I had an idea of a music video for 'Esther's'; a page-long treatment, and a couple of sketches.
"There was no intention of releasing a video for that album back then, plus the music industry was collapsing, so finding funding for the video was improbable. But he liked the idea nonetheless, and after I put together a 40-second video pitch for him, he was completely seduced and determined to make it happen. Then came a year-long stretch of trying to find funding, both in Belgium and Canada, to no avail.
"After that Amon and I approached NinjaTune to see if some sort of budget could be released for the making of this video, which had in the meantime evolved into a short-film.
"Production ended up taking nine months because of the lack of funding for the CG - the shoot having consumed the entire budget. So the video was pretty much made after-hours, by a team of incredibly talented artists with day jobs willing to give up some of their evenings to help make it happen.
"Since there was no real point in releasing the video as a promotional tool for the album by the time the video was finished, NinjaTune decided to keep it, and release it for their 20th Anniversary, in September 2010."
"The main creative challenge was the crescendo build-up of the suspense; to try and glue people to their screens for a good four minutes, without answering any questions raised in the introduction. All this while giving small hints, and walking the thin line between good and bad, shyness and aggressiveness, without giving away the true intention before the very end.
"We had just enough budget to do two nights of shooting. In an effort to shoot faster, photography was organized and lit in sequences with minimal changes in each sequence, so we would re-use our settings as much as we could. We managed to shoot over 60 shots a night, which was quite a feat.
"The main technical issue was just the sheer amount of CG we had to build and design from scratch, as well as the integration, which needed to be believable at all times.
"To be sure we would have enough control in compositing, and to save on re-render times, we split each CG-render into around 15 different passes. It helped tremendously to sell the robot as being real, but also multiplied the compositing possibilities a hundredfold, so it was pretty tough keeping a coherent look throughout.
"Also, since we almost never had written out complete animations beforehand, we ended up re-rigging some parts on the fly, whilst animating at the same time. There's a different rig for almost every single shot."
Schedule: nine months.
Writer/director/editor: Charles De Meyer
Producer: Charles De Meyer
Line producer: Johnny de Jaegher
1st assistant director: Michael Geuns
Production assistant: Joris Rabijns
Art direction: Charles De Meyer
Illustrators: Ronan Lefur, Joeri Steegen
Cinematographer: Michel Dierickx
First assistant camera: Björn Charpentier
Digital imaging technicians: Filip Vandoorne, Carine Cannière
Key grip: Sebastiaan Beysen
Makeup artist: Eric Hachman
Catering: Regina Van Eijden
Animatronics: Sébastien Boucherit
CG modelers: Laurent Talbot, Manu Talbot, Christophe Lebrun, Charles De Meyer
Additional modeling: Benjamin Mousquet
CG layout: Olivier Sipesaque
Rigging: Charles De Meyer
Additional rigging: Benjamin Mousquet
Animation director: Charles De Meyer
Lead animators: Benjamin Mousquet, Charles De Meyer
Additional animation: Guillaume Roux
Decals, textures, shading, lighting: Charles De Meyer
HDR photography: Olivier Sipesaque, Christophe Lebrun
Special effects: Jérôme Escobar
Compositing: Charles De Meyer, Matthieu Cadet
Color grading: Charles De Meyer
Mastering: Benoît Mannequin
Foley artist: François De Meyer
Maya, 3ds Max, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flame